The conventional wisdom is that Kobe’s injury has ended the Lakers’ season. Further, the conventional wisdom says that even if the Lakers clinch a playoff spot with a win on Wednesday, they’ll probably lose in the first round to either the Spurs or the Thunder.
The LA-Times prophesied that “[Kobe Bryant] has crumbled, and, for now, basketball’s greatest franchise will crumble with him.”
In another article, the LA-Times went on to say that “without Bryant, the Lakers may also finish an epically disappointing 2012-13 season without a playoff berth”.
Kobe Bryant's Facebook rant about his torn achilles is amazing pic.twitter.com/DeLo4kQzdi
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) April 14, 2013
Kobe Bryant can do a lot of things, but playing on torn Achilles ain't one of 'em. If that's the diagnosis, industry standard is a year out
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) April 13, 2013
— ESPN First Take (@ESPN_FirstTake) April 15, 2013
Why Kobe’s absence might actually be good for the Lakers (God forbid anybody suggest such a thing)?
- He’s not a great shooter. Yes, the degree of difficulty on many of his shots is often very large, but all too often, Kobe takes ridiculous off-balance fall-aways when he could have passed the ball for a better shot. It’s not that he doesn’t make a decent chunk of his shots, it’s that his decision-making is often not in the best interest of the team.
- For example, in this Youtube video, many times he has to take a bad shot because the game clock is winding down — but there are a number of times where he doesn’t pass the ball when there are wide-open shooters or when he takes a fall-away jumper against Russell Westbrook.
- Here’s his shot chart this year. One highlight: 28.57% from the left three point line???
- Kobe takes way too many bad shots — his true shooting percentage is 55.6%. This is roughly the true shooting percentage of Steve Blake (54.6%), Earl Clark (54.6%), Antawn Jamison (55.2%), and Metta World Peace (52.2%).
Bad shots are essentially wasted possessions. And wasted possessions invariably lead to losses. While Kobe is a great player, he takes too many bad shots — and while many times his shot selection is dictated by situational pressures (i.e. Kobe gets the ball when the shot clock is about to expire) the shots Kobe chooses (like fall-away jumpers) are often bad ones. In addition, when Kobe creates by penetrating into the lane, more often than not (though this has been less true this season), he will look for his own shot rather than passing to find a better shot.